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Functionality on a forum as crowded as TB questions

Discussion in 'Suggestion Box' started by DiMarco, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. DiMarco

    DiMarco Guest

    Feb 4, 2010
    Hello TB people,

    Apart from playing bass my other hobby is developing php/javascript based web applications, and I have some ideas on the future of forum software.

    Statement: Forums should be more attractive then social media like facebook etc, which people increasingly seem to abandon. Smaller communities are just cooler because we all have quite some things in common on a forum like TB.

    Problem: Forum software and its functionality was designed a long long time ago when the Internet was still young, some people (not all) had a mobile phone and almost nobody was always carrying a camera along. Discussions have largely been divided into predefined forum sections, are linear thread based and always displayed in chronological order, which is rather limiting.

    Over time forum software incorporated the possibility to include images, documents and media from youtube and other video streaming sites. As these functionalities were added later they still are not part of the base functionality and this bothers me. Visiting, contributing, being an admin on several forums taught me that a lot of visitors are having trouble uploading images, and that media content within threads doesn't really look pleasing in many cases.

    I want media to be at the core of what we share on a forum. So what I am trying to come up with is a more flexible and attractive way to display and comment on the images, soundclips and videos that people share within a forum community (not like social media where you target just your friendlist). I want to accomplish this by creating plugins that overhaul the way we post our stuff completely, for existing forum products as we're not trying to reinvent the wheel here.

    Not all content is a discussion. There are "blog" and "article" plugins in most forum products but the content created in those is always displayed in a separate section of the website. I do not like this, I want everything in the same format and it all should look attractive. Slideshows and video channels for forum memberscome to mind. How do I go about this?

    What I would like to find out is what (if any) part of posting on TB, sharing images or videos could be improved on and what part of reading TB could be improved on. TB is an excellent ground for finding this stuff out as it is one of the most succesful and fast moving forums with lots of regular members.

    Example: Personally I feel that threads on here move so fast I can't keep up and sometimes forget to read threads well before posting my answer. I have not yet come up with a solution for this yet but am thinking in the line of leaving the linear thread model allowing it to fork (split up into several pathways) into a tree shaped thing. Searching threads would become more difficult though and something like auto tagging might become a handy tool. But I digress.

    My question to you: Thinking out of the box, what would make a big forum like TB more awesome and easy to follow?

    If you are a php nut like me and have info for me or know of products already in existence that would fit in my line of thinking also please do share.

    Thanks for any replies!
  2. DiMarco

    DiMarco Guest

    Feb 4, 2010
    Just thought of this. Forking threads would remove the need for quoting completely. Interesting.
  3. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I like the way you're thinking outside the box, but I think the "vision" you have in mind is completely different from my own. I don't mean this as a criticism -- just a different point of view.

    Personally, I do not want media to be "at the core of what we share on a forum." I like words. Conversation. Discussion. Argument. Media can certainly enhance and clarify conversations, but to my mind emphasizing media first is like letting the tail wag the dog. It seems to me that the current interface is more than adequate for accommodating media, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts to the contrary.

    I'm intrigued by your idea of "forking" threads; I'd like to hear more about what you have in mind. On the one hand, I can see how something like this could enhance what I like about TB -- by allowing "conversations" to break into separate "sub-conversations" -- but I can also see how it could lead to chaos, in which the initial point or question of a thread quickly disappears in favor of multiple sub-threads.
    Passinwind likes this.
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Forking threads on TB sounds like a massive injection of entropy into a format that I enjoy just fine.
    Lobster11 likes this.

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